Alabama Highway 157’s “bridges to nowhere” could soon have somewhere to go; road construction is slated to begin in November 2019. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Department of Transportation’s (ALDOT) five-year plan for the period from Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2023 includes 15 projects at nine locations in Cullman County; most notably, for some, Alabama Highway 157 in Cullman.
Hwy. 157 to be widened
Utilities preparation is set to begin along a 4.5-mile stretch of Hwy. 157 between Alabama Highway 69 and U.S. Highway 31 during FY 2019. Actual road and bridge construction is scheduled for FY 2020. According to ALDOT North Region Public Information Officer Seth Burkett, the construction phase should begin in November 2019, with the utilities phase starting approximately three months earlier.
ALDOT has specified, though, that the timetable for the Hwy. 157 projects, expected to cost around $25.2 million, is contingent on the agency’s ability to procure the necessary funding.
Burkett told The Tribune: “That date’s tentative and dependent on the availability of funding. We certainly hope that we’ll be able to move forward with it at that point. We see the need for the project; it’s just the current situation with funding is forcing us to prioritize projects carefully, I guess.”
He later added, “We do have to move things because of funding all the time.”
Burkett emphasized that only the dates are tentative and that the projects themselves will be done, saying, “We certainly anticipate moving forward with that project at whatever point the funding is available. We’re just not, right now, we’re not certain, looking into late next year, what the situation is going to be.
“We have quite a lot in needs across the state, as far as expanding and improving our capacity on our roadways, and just very, very little money to work with.”
Other projects in the five-year plan include:
- Construction of a replacement bridge on Convent Road Northeast over Eight Mile Creek during FY 2019
- Construction of a new lighting system for the Cullman County I-65 rest area during FY 2019
- Preventive maintenance resurfacing and restriping of I-65 from south of County Road 222 to U.S. Highway 278. This will be done as two separate projects, both in FY 2019.
- Preventive maintenance resurfacing of I-65 from Hurricane Creek to south of the CSX Railroad bridge during FY 2019
- Improvement of the right-of-way along Alabama Highway 69 from Fourth Avenue west of Eight Mile Creek to the East Point intersection of Alabama Highway 69 and U.S. Highway 278, during FY 2019. This is preparation for a future project (not yet scheduled) to add lanes to that section of road.
- Bridge replacement on Alabama Highway 91 over Duck River, just east of the Center Hill community. Right-of-way work will begin in FY 2021; utilities preparation and bridge construction to take place in FY 2022.
- Bridge replacement on Alabama Highway 74 (Hwy. 278) over Crooked Creek, east of the Jones Chapel community. Right-of-way work will begin in FY 2021; utilities preparation and bridge construction to take place in FY 2023.
- Preliminary engineering for additional northbound and southbound lanes on I-65 and the widening of the Alabama Highway 91 overpass during FY 2023
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